PORTO: Manchester City have registered a protest with UEFA about racist abuse aimed at their players during the 2-1 Europa League victory over Porto in Portugal.
Striker Mario Balotelli complained about being subjected to abuse first, with midfielder Yaya Toure backing up his claim, leading to City informing the delegate of their plans to complain.
Manager Roberto Mancini did not hear the abuse apparently but Balotelli told a club official he heard abusive chanting during the game at the Estadio do Dragao.
Mancini said: “I didn’t hear this because I was concentrating on the game. I don’t know if (it happened) to Mario and Yaya.”
When asked if either player had mentioned it to him, he said: “No.”
Toure confirmed he had “heard something” from the stands. He added: “That’s why we all like the Premier League because it never happens there. Maybe in foreign countries they don’t expect black players. I think in future it will be okay, they will change their minds and the game will become more open.
“Football is football and the fans come to enjoy the game, and we don’t want things like this to happen. Mario is now able to control things like this and that is very important for the club.”
Balotelli, who was a regular target for racist abuse while playing for Internazionale in Italy, told a club official he heard abusive chanting, leading to the complaint.
As for the game, Mancini hailed his “fantastic” players after they came from behind to take the advantage after the first leg of the second round tie.
Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score the winner six minutes from time after an Alvaro Pereira own goal had cancelled out a Silvestre Varela strike.
Mancini said: “I think it was a good result because it is difficult to win here. We played very well and didn’t give more chances to score to them. The guys were fantastic.”
Mancini was generally pleased with the performance of Balotelli, who had been playing his first game since serving a four-match domestic suspension for stamping on Tottenham’s Scott Parker.
The City boss had spoken before the game of the importance of Balotelli remaining focused on the game ahead of a crucial period for the team.
He said: “I think Mario did very well, he played very well. He was calm and it is important he continues like this. I think this [provocation] can happen every game. For this reason I spoke with Mario before the game.
“I said, ‘Mario think and play, think what you should do during the game. Forget other things.’ I think only this is important.”
Toure also played an influential role on his City return after missing eight games due to the African Nations Cup.
Porto have lost only one league game this season and had not been beaten at home in a major competition.